I haven’t exactly recovered from my d?©calage horaire yet, but the trip thus far has gone quite well. I got up at 4 am on Thursday and was, thankfully, ready to go when my cab showed up 20 minutes early. I had about an hour to kill in ONT, and then another six hours in IAH, where I sat in the President’s Club and got a ton of work done. The flight from IAH to CDG was about as painless as those things get: crowded and long, but I had an exit row seat and–thanks to the TSA’s recently updated regulations–I had a bottle of water. Things could have been much worse. I was able to doze some, if not exactly sleep, and I was clear-headed enough to make my way from CDG to Marcus’s without incident.
I don’t much remember Friday. I know Marcus and I went out for a lateish lunch, and that I took a bit of a nap (though I forced myself to keep it short, and get up long before I wanted to); and I seem to recall that Marcus’s partner Rom made us a fabulous dinner, and that I completely crashed pretty much immediately thereafter. I know all that happened, but I don’t really remember it; I feel as though I read about it, or watched it happening.
Yesterday, Saturday, was quite pleasant; I woke up around 8 am, and lay in bed reading for a while, then showered and went down to Marcus’s studio where he had a croissant (which he’s become Parisian enough to say is “only okay”) and some quite fabulous coffee waiting for me. I checked email, we chatted, and then I headed out for a quick lunch with Michael Joyce and his partner Carolyn, who are here on sabbatical. After that, a nap, some reading, and Marcus and Rom and I headed out to a soir?©e at the flat of a couple of friends of theirs whom I’d met several times. The party was lovely, but by that point in the evening, my already limited French had completely failed me, and so I wound up having a few stilted conversations with a few very patient souls, and chatting for a while with one guy from England and another who’s just returned from a post-doc in Canada.
I woke up far earlier this morning than I intended, but I sat in bed and worked on my paper (which, yes, is still in process, but which I’m enjoying more and more) and then had a replay of the coffee-and-croissant (this one from a different bakery, one which Marcus informed me is a bit more “industrial” than the non-Sunday bakery; “we really don’t get good croissants in this neighborhood,” he told me, which I responded to by pointing out how utterly relative a concept that is) before retracing my steps to CDG, where I now sit using some mighty expensive wi-fi and waiting for my flight to VIE, which should board in about half an hour.
I’m venturing a bit outside my comfort zone with this trip, as I can muck along in most romance-language countries, at least puzzling out enough signage to find my way where I’m going. I’ve got no German, however (save a good “verstehen Sie Englisch?” and a bit of “wie geht es Ihnen?”, along with enough “bitte” and “danke” as to not appear a complete arse), and so I’m a little curious to see how this goes. One of the more patient French guys assured me last night that tout le monde parle anglais à Vienne, though, so there’s that.
The hotel and the conference center are thoroughly wi-fi’d, I’m told, so there should be more once I settle in.